Monday, October 12, 2015

On Pitla, Sappak Pitla and Goddu Pitla!

Oh the Pitlas of the Thanjavur Marathis!

No, not the besan Pitla. We call that Jhunka. Regular Standard Maharashtrian pithla is called Jhunka and is commonly had with puris.

Sometimes I think, our ancestors missed the original pithla for whatever reason and came up with these varieties. ( This is not a fact, just my imagination).

Then what is it we call pitla. It is somewhat close to what the Kannadas call Kootu.

But make no mistake, our Pitlas are fiery, hot, spicy and rich!......

........And Varied.
We have the regular Pitla, made with myriad vegetables, and pepper .
Then there is the Sappak Pitla .
Who can forget Goddu Pitla.
And there is the Doodh Pitla.

Regular Pithla is a rich dish made with lots of pepper and lots of vegetables. It is made on special occasions like festivals and weddings. Kadi -pitla is a given for all festivals and celeberations.
In fact there  is baby game one plays with a baby or toddler to make him/her eat.
It goes like this....holding the young ones hand, palm upwards and a pretence of serving  all the food on it.

Mothaa paan maanduna
 Kosambari, bhaaji, ambode, pappad, vhaaduna
kheera vhaaduna, bhaath vhaaduna, kadi pithla vhaaduna
khadicha paal phutla phutla phutla....
( The baby's hand would be tickled so )

You can check out the recipe for this from

Goddu Pitla has only one vegetable and no dal added. Contrastingly, it is made when  one has run out of all vegetables. It is popularly made with yam.

Sappak Pitla is unlike its name not sappak but very very tasty. made with one or 2 vegetables , it has no tamarind.

 Doodh pitla as the name suggests is made with milk and lots of pepper.
Doodh pitla is not often made as many cannot associate milk with a curried dish.

I hope you all enjoyed the culinary travel to the dishes of our ancestors carried down to us and hopefully the next generation will keep these dishes alive!
Or it will get engulfed and buried in Pizzas and Pastas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More Phrases and Use of Figures of Speech ( Euphemism) in Thanjavur Marathi

Use of Euphemism as a figure of speech in Thanjavur Marathi
Here are more phrases which are rarely used in today's Thanjavur Marathi. Interestingly, I found rampant use of Euphemisms in TM as a figure of speech.

 Mahine Jhaala Aahe महिने  झाला  आहे
 Literally means " the months have happened" Now the literal meaning neither makes sense nor grammar. However, the figurative meaning of this phrase refers to pregnancy. If a woman is pregnant, one would refer to this as .."thila mahine jhaala aahe"

 Paayen Dhoingu Yete पायें  धोइङ्गु  एते
Literally means, " I will wash my feet and come" . Well, this refers to "going to the bathroom." This is a typical example of using a soft phrase to describe something not mentioned in company.
This was probably born of the habit of washing one's feet after using the bathroom.

Parsapatees Jaoon Yete also used as Parsaan Jaoon Yete
पर्सा- पटीस जावून येतें / परसान जावून येतें
Means I will go the backyard and come.
The backyard in ancient times  was always used to house the toilet. And this is what is referred to in the above phrase. Another typical example of euphemism.

Haath Laamb हाथ  लांब
Means Hand is long. Of course it does not mean someone's hand is long in size; it means the person is a small thief and easily pockets what he/she finds. So instead of calling a person a thief, euphemism is again used here by saying "haath laamb"


Avaringu Baise अवरीन्गु  बैसे
Cover yourself well and sit.  This has reference to modesty. Little girls used to generally be told.. avaringu baise.. cover yourself well and sit .
This is used even today, when I was going out in Delhi where there was a recent spate of chain snatching, my mother-in-law told me, " avaringu ja" meaning to cover myself so my chain is not visible.

Vichaar Nahi Vyavahaar Nahi: विचार नही व्यवहार नही
Neither will they ask, nor do they know  or Neither do they know the rules nor will they listen to advise! When someone does things independantly, not following the norms or customs or rules an also give no respect to the elders by asking them, we say, " they do as they like, vichaar nahi vyavahaar nahi"

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jewellery or Nugh as it is called by the Thanjavur Marathis

In Thanjavur Marathi, Jewellery is called 'nugh'.नघ  Long back , probably more when our ancestors settled in deep South,  all the women among our ancestors dressed beautifully in " reshamacha nau gajach lugda"रेश्मीची  नौ  गजाच लुगडा   and adorned themselves with a " bichhoda" बिच्चोडा in the center of which was a " rakhudi" राखुडी of rubies or a " phirivach phula".फिरीवाच फुला

Or sometimes the younger women wore a 'veni' वेणी  which was adorned with " venicha nugh" वेणीचा नघ  all along. Not to forget, sometimes this veni was achieved with a " gangavan". गंगावन

At the end of this veni was a bunch of 'gonde' गोंडे  sometimes even made of gold! 

On the nose was a " mukhra" ,मुखरा  a " nath"नथ  or a " bulaak". बुलाक . The ears had a " vajrach thod" वज्राच थोड or a " mothach thod".मोतेच थोड 

The forehead had a  tikamani. टीकामनी 

On the neck,( galanth) was a mothach mala, मोतेच माळा  garsoli, गरसोळी  sometimes kasech maal कासेच  माळा ; hands were adorned with sonyach kaankan सोनाचा  कांकण or mothach kaankan मोतेच कांकण 
On the arm was a bajubandh बाजूबंध or even nagbandh.   नागबंध

The fingers were adorned with 'mudhi ' मूधी  and sometimes 'vanki mudhi '. वंकी  मुधी

On the waist was a sonyach patta सोनाच पट्टा . The feet, not to be outdone had a pair of tinkling ' painjan' पैंजण and the toes had 'jodvi' जोडवी 

That completed the picture of a bejewelled Thanjavur Marathi woman of yonder days!

To those who recognize all the above jewellery, this probably is taking you back many years. But those who have no idea what I am talking about, well, this must be Greek and Latin.

Like what is " gangavan"? Where did  Ganga come in all this!!?

Interestingly, that is the very purpose of my blog.. to rekindle our language!And you can be sure I will be posting the details of all this jewellery with pictures where possible.

Until then...

In all Fairness!

There are a few familiar similes for measuring "GORAPAN" (Fairness in complexion) among the Thanjavur Marathis...

One that was popularly used in my house was ...
सोलथे उरलागद्देस्का गोरी आहे
Meaning: She is as fair as a Peeled Potato.!
What a comparison! We have heard of 'Fair as a Lily', 'White as Snow' but this takes the cake!

Another comparison was....
पीठ लाव्लेस्का गोरी आहे 
Meaning: She is fair as if smeared with Flour!
Another unusual comparison!

And as an anticlimax we have...
गोरीच गोरापण दिवस उगल्त्र कलेल"
Meaning: A fair complexioned girl's fairness will be known when it is daylight/morning.

Friday, February 28, 2014

More Words and Phrases

Pandu Mhathaari.. पंडू  म्हथारी  Very old Woman
Pandu Mhathaara.... पंडू म्हथारा  Very old Man
The above expression was used a lot in my house. Maybe it was local to my house or is used
amongst all TMDs, I have no way of knowing.
This expression is very interesting as in Thanjavur Marathi "pandu" refers to "fruit" or "Ripe".
So are we saying, "Ripe old man/woman"? Looks like that!

This actually means Scorpion. This word is however also used metaphorically in
Thanjavur Marathi to denote a very vicious person.
Ammama, vinchu thina. Thija baror  jathan!

Paakadna... or Paakad (verb) पाकड
Grains or pulses would be tossed from a tray to blow off the light  husks.

Soop...  सूप 
the bamboo/cane 'U'shaped tray used for this  above action was called 'soop'

Dhandga Bokka.... धांडगा बोक्का
 Fat guy

Vaara Pausa...वारा  पाऊस 
'Vaara' is Wind and 'Pausa' is Rain and both together form a 'Storm'. Wow!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


While we all have descended to just 'two' words to describe tastes... "Yuck' if it is bad and 'Yum' if it is good, we did have words to describe 'tastes' once upon a time before the 'yuck' and 'yum' took over universally!

Here I bring to you the common 'Tastes' as described in Thanjavur Marathi.....








KHAVATHA...... IS THE ITCHY SENSE IN THROAT After eating foods that cause allergic sensation

Monday, October 14, 2013

TMD words for sickness!

 Funny , is it not that we even developed words to describe our illness in Thanjavur Marathi. However, most pain was described as Body part + pain but some words were used for other ailments. Here are a few....

Aang Bharni.... Not Well

Phadasa..... Cold

Khonkla..... Cough

Ghasa Dukna..... Throat Pain

Aang sool... Body Ache

Jaera.... Fever

Modla ..... Broken

Used as in Haath modla, Payen Modla.... Broken Hand and Broken Leg etc.

Sool.... Pain

Sool is again used as Haath sool, Paaht Sool... Hand pain, Back Pain
 Duktha ... Is pain

 Laagla.... Got hurt. ( I think this word was used for want of any better word)
Chira.... Cut

Chrun Gele aahe... Got a Cut

Ghaav...... Wound

Ghaav Jhala Aahe.....  Has got Wounded
 Ragath.... Blood

 Khapli.....Crust on Wounds


Phod..... Boil

Nank Khurd.... An ingrown nail

Kapaal Sool..... Headache
Pot Sool.... Stomach ache

Thondaanth Phod... Mouth Ulcers

Gadda... Tumours/ Fibroids

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


TMD celebrate pujas with a lot of fanfare and are particular about it being celebrated in a particular way. Oftentimes we have heard our elders say..." asach karaam"  It has to be done this way being stressed. My guess is that the TMDs being a displaced group had to insist on certain things to make sure it was not lost in the future!

Well, here are certain words we use in puja...

Ghanta ... Bell

Ghanta vaajive.... ring the bell

Jhaankat.... A gong like sounded during the puja

Shanka.... Conch /Shell

Shank Phunke.... Blow the Conch

Dilvaan ... Lamp stands

Diva.... Lamp/ light

Saen... Festival

Sanach Sampaak.... Festival Food

Vaathi... the cotton rolled for lighting lamps

Phul vaathi... the cotton rolled like a flower for lamps

Pyaala Phali Panchatra... the set of bowl, tumbler and spoon used for Sandhyavandana

Vaati... bowl

Thoopach Diva... Ghee lamps